October 11, 2023

Sitrep for Oct. 9-11, 2023 (as of 8 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

In the early hours of Oct. 10, Avdiivka came under heavy shelling. It is worth noting that Russian forces have been attempting to capture this Donetsk satellite town since 2014. However, their efforts have been thus far unsuccessful, Avdiivka is home to a heavily fortified Ukrainian stronghold.

Additionally, Russian artillery destroyed the Ocheretyne railway station, northwest of Avdiivka. According to Russian command, the station served as a crucial transportation hub for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

After softening up their target, Russian forces launched an offensive, deploying mechanized columns towards Avdiivka from two directions. Their strategy aimed to encircle the city from the southwest from Vodiane towards the village of Sieverne, and from Krasnohorivka towards the village of Berdychi.

Two videos have surfaced, corroborating fighting in this direction. One was filmed near Vodiane: a column of Russian armored vehicles is seen approaching a small bridge, with the driver of the lead vehicle losing control, causing it to topple into the river. Subsequently, the column turns around and retreats.

The second video was recorded in the vicinity of Avdiivka, though its exact geolocation remains undetermined. The footage shows three armored vehicles and a substantial number of infantry troops. One of the armored vehicles is struck by an anti-tank guided missile. Judging by the impact, it appears to be a substantial strike, but assessing casualties is currently unfeasible.

As a result, the available visual evidence does not confirm any significant advances by Russian forces, only minor progress in the Krasnohorivka area.

During this offensive, Mil Mi-28NM attack helicopters were used in addition to artillery and armored vehicles (there was practically no evidence of their participation in combat activities until now). They flew over Donetsk towards Avdiivka, took up a position in the air and fired LMURs (light multipurpose guided missiles). It is worth noting that, as LMURs are stated to have an operational range of up to 14 km, while remaining as precise as 9K121 Vikhr air-launched anti-tank missiles launched by Kamov Ka-52 (Hokum B) attack helicopters with operational range of 10 km. According to our observations, light multipurpose guided missiles were not widely used earlier this year—we believe that they are produced in small quantities, and now the Russian Aerospace Forces can spend the accumulated stock.

On Oct. 10, pro-Russian sources published unconfirmed information about supposed progress during this offensive: allegedly the RuAF had already almost approached Berdychi and Avdiivka would soon be trapped in a pincer movement (some even claimed that Russia had launched a large-scale offensive in different directions). However, by the evening, Russian military blogger Andrey "Murz" Morozov issued a refutation, condemning selling the bear's skin before it had been caught. In any case, it will only be possible to assess the results of this offensive after another couple of days.

At this stage, this is a war of attrition. The Russian leadership nevertheless continues to delay further mobilization waves. Accordingly, the purported offensive seems rather untimely and it would make more sense for the RuAF to defend their existing positions. Even if they do manage to take Avdiivka, it would only be a pyrrhic victory, costing many lives and military vehicles, as well a lot of ammunition, while holding the city afterwards would require even more resources.

The attack on Avdiivka resembles the failed offensive in the Vuhledar direction in early 2023, and is reminiscent of the style of General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the RuAF. It is possible, in fact, that he is behind it and further attempts to capture territory may take place during the coming winter.

According to the weather forecast, there should not be any heavy rain in the coming days. Therefore, we do not expect the muddy season to begin just yet, at least not next week.

Another three fatalities have been identified from the strike on the village of Hroza in the Kharkiv region on Oct. 5. The total number of fatalities now stands at 55 people, with three more still missing.

Vasily Nebenzya, Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, stated during a UN Security Council meeting that the strike on the village of Hroza occurred during "the funeral of a high-ranking Ukrainian nationalist, attended by many of his fellow neo-Nazi accomplices." At the moment, it is alleged that Andrey Kozyr's son, Denis, quit the AFU, and there was not a single military person at the wake.

On Oct. 10, in an attack on the village of Popovka in the Belgorod region, a projectile hit a private residence, resulting in the death of an elderly man, while his wife sustained severe shrapnel wounds.

The only pedestrian border crossing for Ukrainians to return to Ukraine from Russia and occupied territories is located in the Belgorod region, and it is currently heavily congested. People are forced to spend nights in the open, facing the onset of freezing conditions, leading to a humanitarian crisis.

An ex-convict who had returned from the war strangled a resident of Primorye [Russia’s federal subject] and set her body on fire along with her car to conceal the crime. During interrogation, he stated that the motive behind the act was personal conflict.

Western Assistance

The German automotive and arms manufacturer Rheinmetall has announced a new order for over 150,000 155mm caliber artillery munitions, including DM 121 high-explosive rounds. The first tens of thousands of munitions will be produced and delivered to Ukraine later this year, with the remainder scheduled for delivery in 2024.

On top of that Germany announced a new military aid package worth nearly €1 billion [$1.1 billion] for Ukraine. The package includes:

  • A Patriot surface-to-air missile system comprising a command post, ground surveillance radar, 8 launchers and over 60 guided missiles;
  • An IRIS-T SLM surface-to-air missile system with medium-range missiles;
  • An IRIS-T SLS surface-to-air missile system with short-range missiles;
  • 10 Leopard 1A5 tanks;
  • 3 Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns;
  • 15 armored personnel carriers;
  • 20 armored ambulances;
  • 155mm ammunition.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met with Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania. They have signed an agreement on opening a pilot training center for F-16 fighter aircraft.

A video has been posted online showing a Russian Lancet loitering munition striking a Ukrainian Sukhoi SU-25 (Frogfoot) attack aircraft at the Dovhyntseve air-base near the city of Kryvyi Rih, about 70 km away from the frontline. The time of the footage is unknown although we have already reported on a Lancet barely missing a MiG-29 fighter aircraft at that air-base.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has released a video presumably showing the destruction of a ground surveillance radar of a S-300 SAM system in the Mykolaiv region.

A picture of two 22S2 Bohdana 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers on a new chassis somewhere on the frontline has been published.

Due to the recent escalation of the Israel-Hamas war, we are once again providing a link to our guide on preventing secondary trauma from viewing graphic content.